With the summer solstice behind us, it is time to take advantage of some short-lived summertime angling opportunities experienced on the Indian River Lagoon Coast of Florida. The summer solstice arrives each year on June 21st, marking the point of the sun’s northern most reach, and the longest day and the shortest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The solstice typically marks the beginning of the summer doldrums resulting in calm sea conditions allowing those of us with shallow water boats to venture seaward in search of near-shore kingfish, dolphin, tarpon, and large jack crevalle. Also, it’s only a matter of time before the silver kings (tarpon) and smoker kings (large kingfish) invade the Port Canaveral buoy line and beaches. These favorable sea conditions will only last as long as the tropical summer squalls allow, and Labrador currents stay well offshore. Also, summer is the best time to fish at night where some species (sea trout and snook) prefer to feed, as they have a shorter window of opportunity increasing their aggressiveness.
Fishing this past week started out slow, and showed some improvement as the week progressed, but considerable work was required at times to get the fish to eat.
My week started on June 15th, where I was privileged to fish with Captain Rodney Smith and Captain Dan Kipnis from the Miami area. We started the day in the Banana River Lagoon in the Cocoa Beach area, and when the bite wasn’t happening there, we loaded Three Quarter Time and trailered to Port Canaveral to no avail. It was an extremely tough day, and between three Captains, we only boated a few small sea trout in the Lagoon and had one brief shot at a decent tripletail. The water was dirty in the Port, and there was no bait on the beach. We did receive some live pogies from Captain Tony Weatherman of Champion Pro Guide Service, for which he netted in the back turning basin, thank you Captain Tony.
My next charter was on June 17th, where I spent the day with Terry Pollard from Oklahoma, again looking instead of catching. We launched at Ramp Road in Cocoa Beach at around 0800, and we worked the Thousand Island area and the west shore managing only small trout and small redfish. Near the end of the charter, we finally located a significant school of breeder redfish, but we only had a few good shots at them before they departed the flat at a high rate of speed, and a thunderstorm ran us off of the water.
On the next day, Saturday June 18, I guided a charter into the Banana River No-Motor-Zone with Larry Carter and his grandson Taylor, both excellent anglers from Jupiter Florida. Our day started around 0630, we were immediately on the fish, and the bite was on for a change. We started catching short snook on Chug-Bugs in the area of a small point, and we soon lost count of the short linesiders landed. Shortly after landing the first few snook, large redfish tails started popping up all around us, but before we could get a rise out of them, another canoe pushed in on us and spooked the school out of the area. At that point, I made the decision to continue to work the snook, and once the bite slowed down, we would head out onto the flat and try to relocate the school of reds. With the big reds on our minds, we began catching small blue crabs for bait, and we retrieved a 6-inch redfish, regurgitated by a 24″ snook, and decided to save it for cut bait. After my anglers grew bored with the under size snook bite, remembering these guys are from Jupiter where real snook live, we headed out looking for the big redfish. Both Taylor and Larry were rewarded by two jumbo redfish each, with Taylor’s two, both nearing the 50-pound mark, and oddly enough, both of Taylor’s big reds were caught on two puked up redfish chunks.
On Monday June 20th, brothers Adam and Keith Cross from Oak Hill joined me for a half a day on the Mosquito Lagoon. Our goal was to target some slot redfish and sea trout, but with a slow bite, we were forced to settle for three 20-pound class redfish caught out of a small school located off of the Turtle Pen bar using live pinfish for bait. After boating three significant fish, we returned to our quest to catch Adam and Keith some dinner, and as it turned out, a stop at the fish house on the way home was the requisite.
On Tuesday June 21st, I returned to the Mosquito Lagoon and was joined by B. J. Garrison, and his father Jack from Port Orange for a day of redfish and sea trout, and we departed the Haulover ramp at 0530. Like day before, our goal was dinner size sea trout and redfish, but for some mystical reason, we could not get a solid hook-up on any keeper size fish. B.J. was working a Top Dog Jr., and Jack a Chug Bug, and both received considerable strikes, but the fish weren’t serious about eating, and the one’s they did hook escaped before reaching the release well. We did manage to successfully boat one undersize redfish, and about forty undersize sea trout, but the one legal trout we did catch was released out of sympathy. Oh yes by the way, both B.J. and Jack did manage to catch one 20-pound class redfish each out the same school fished the day before, again on live pinfish. Other baits of choice this past week were Cotee jigs red/white, and Gulp Shrimp on ¼ ounce jigs, any color.
As always, if you need information or have questions, please contact me.